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Raise a Follower Not a Leader

I hope to raise my children to be followers. Our world has plenty of leaders but not nearly enough followers.

Leadership is overrated. All too often accompanied by inflated ego and entitlement, it tears us apart, offers a temporary façade of confidence, and severs our relationship with the only true leader.

You see, I want my children to be faithful followers. The Lord has provided plenty of principles to lead them and to guide their decisions in life. They don’t need to reinvent the wheel; they simply need to trust in the sturdy one provided to them.

I pray that they always work hard to see beyond the illusion of man-made success and, instead, take on the more challenging commitment of spiritual success.

I realize this means that I’m asking them to rationalize resisting the modern monster of self-indulgence for the pursuit of true fulfillment and the betterment of others. To resist the temptation to succumb to the unceasing pressures of our culture. That will require them to push pause. To move the race to a standstill. To practice the characteristics of a faithful follower instead of a blind leader.

To abandon the “accommodate me” attitude for “How can I accommodate God?”

Sadly, we live in a time when we are more skilled at talking than we are at listening. When we are more eager to raise our grievances with others than to raise our arms out to them. When expectations abound yet generosity is scarce. Differences are easier to detect than similarities, affixing labels that both identify and divide. When the allure of material wealth trumps the satisfaction of spiritual wealth. When we overestimate our strength and underestimate his. We cast celebrities as idols and cast him out, just as the stakes in the game of life are at their highest.

When an abundance of green stands for success and our leaders rashly resort to insulting, demeaning, vilifying, exposing, threatening, and wielding their power in a desperate attempt to control. When respect is dwindling and disrespect has become a new liberty. Computers have a multitude of search engines yet too often serve as engines of cruelty. When achievement means more than one’s journey to it. We race to award effort but resist accountability. When we expect forgiveness from others but struggle to accept another’s flaws.

When appearance serves as the gold standard for beauty. A time when we are content to view the world through artificial lenses instead of our own. Too quick to turn our cameras on ourselves instead of the beauty that surrounds us. When anger too easily substitutes for tolerance. And knowledge is defined as man-made, data the most trustworthy source.

When we are more than prepared to defend ourselves before a judgment has even been formed. When passion is for the strong and compassion for the soft. When we forget that humankind is the precious combination of two very vital words.

When we ignore God in times of serenity yet cling to him in times of chaos. When our voices must be heard; yet their very existence is thanks to him.

Yes, I hope my children are followers. Faithful followers. The leader role has long been filled. When our children realize that they have the right leader to follow, they are free from the tangles of artificial leadership and the unnecessary pressures placed upon them.

It’s then that we can teach them to live a life of meaning, rooted in faith.

As we guide them to resist those powerful forces at play and accept the life of a faithful follower, everything aligns as it should. Though none of it is easy, for them or us. Every bit of it is worth it. We know that. We are not path-of-least-resistance parents. We are multi-taskers, teachers, sacrificers, huggers, jugglers, boo-boo kissers, protectors, cheerleaders, peace-makers, confidence-boosters, and followers. We understand the mighty superhuman task of raising a good human being.

Each and every beautifully arduous moment, we guide and encourage another human being to discover all that the Lord created them to be as they live their life in all his glory.

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

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Showing 4 comments
  • James mcnab

    Jesus invited and trained and developed 12 leaders…
    Now, do I have the passion to submit and accept ChristJesus’ gift of salvation, and then submit and
    follow the comfort and teaching of the HolySpirit, in and through the Word of God, and serve and
    Love my fellow men and sisters, in the Love of ChristJesus, and as Servant Leader, influence twelve
    other sovereign brothers and sisters to desire to pursue life as I do, and I in turn, mentor and lead them
    to accept ChristJesus, and pursue the comfort and teaching of the HolySpirit thru the Word of God as I do,
    and then, they become Servant Leaders, in ChristJesus’ Love, as I do, and they attract 12 each,a total of
    144 sovereign persons, who accept, follow, learn, and become Servant Leaders in ChristJesus’ Love,
    through the guidance of the HolySpirit thru the Word of God…
    * invitation by enticement from the actions of serving Love…
    * acceptance…
    * submit to the leadership and training of the HolySpirit and the Word of God…
    * practice and serve others in that Love…
    * then, attract others, thru that Love, and lead them to do the same, as Servant Leader in ChristJesus…

    Results… (12) 12
    (12) 144
    (12) 1,728
    (12) 20,736
    (12) 248,832
    (12) 2,986,084
    (12) 35,831,808
    (12) 429,981,696
    (12) 5,159,780,352
    Total = 5,628,850,696 ………… walking, thinking, acting, 100%, in the Love of ChristJesus…

    If this amount of people, in the societies of the world today, passionately followed and servant lead
    each other and our young children in ChristsJusus Love and the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven,
    can you fathom what our children would do…?
    All 7 billion of us would be “One” in ChristJesus’ Love…
    no room for the anti-christ… it would be out of luck…
    Our planet, our home, would return back to the Garden as Christ created it, and, we would eat from
    the Tree of the Knowledge of Good 7 Evil, in the Love of christJesus instead of in selfishness…

    from the thoughts of,
    James mcnab
    Christ Jesus…

  • Paula

    This is sad. I have raised my kids to follow Jesus, but to be leaders and LEAD people to Christ. To lead in the faith, to lead in doing good and right. NO, the leadership roles are NOT filled. They are certainly “filled” with people dragging humanity into the gutter, or charlatans using the name of Christ to their own benefit. NO, my children will only follow JESUS and will be leaders to lead others in goodness, righteousness, kindness, truth, justice. This world has done nothing, but teach the sheople not to think for themselves, not to question those in positions of “authority” and look what we have. A government we CANNOT trust, a world full of alternative lifestyle zealots who are trying to drag every person possible into the gutter with them. People pushing our God out of our schools and public places at every turn. NO WHAT WE NEED IN CHRISTIANITY is to STOP BEING PANSY, SPINELESS, APOSTATE CHURCHES AND MEMBERS, who just stand on the sidelines “following”… “getting in line”… while we watch our nation and our beliefs being trampled at every turn. What a sad article.

  • Cathy

    Computers are a tool, only that. As you so readily demonstrate by your blog post- they can be used for good, to reach many people with your message. I encourage my children to fulfill their own potential- this could be as a leader or follower. It depends on their talents and temperment. Followers and leaders both still have a place in God’s plan. I hope my kids have the wisdom to see the truth behind all leader’s words, reflected by their actions.

  • Beth

    Thank you for this much-needed article. I agree with Cathy above, “Followers and leaders both still have a place in God’s plan.” In raising our children to be the people God created them to be, our commission is to point to Jesus, not point at ourselves pointing to Jesus. Too many churches, in the name of “servant leadership” (a term originating not in Scripture, but in 20th century business culture), seek to make disciples in their own image. But our job, in our homes and in our communities and in the world, is not to replicate ourselves and our temperaments. Again, our commission is to point to Jesus.

    We don’t need to make people follow US. God is already creating the Body of Christ. Let’s start acting like it.

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